Monday, May 25, 2009

Fringe



Back in December I wrote a little bit about the new quality TV Programming the Fall of 2008 gave us. And while Heroes has since jumped the shark for the 15th time and I'm totally checked out of that series, and House has resorted to fighting for proverbial plot scraps to maintain my attention (though the hallucination plotline this past season ended on was a good one, I just wish they'd make it less formulaic), there were some high points. No I don't mean the return for new seasons of Gangland and Deadliest Catch (though those do start this week). Nor do I mean a second season of Sons Of Anrchy (which will return in Summer '09 with Henry Rollins. No, I think what impressed me the most was the way they wrapped up the first season of Fringe.

I originally billed it as a bit of a revised X-Files, and while I still think it fits the bill there, its also a bit more linear than the X-Files was. In much the same way Law & Order does things with the X-Files there were certain linear aspects to the story (ie, plot points that carried over from episode to episode and season to season), for the most part each episode seemed to be a stand-alone episode with only a few minutes a week given to the over-arching story. Burn Notice is another show that does this. Fringe meanwhile has each episode contributing to the building of a larger story in the much more traditional format for a drama.

Semantics aside though, what's really impressed me about Fringe is how they've tied together the most confusing (don't mistake that for outlandishly absurd like Lost) and far-fetched beginning of the series and progressed it to the point where it starts to actually make sense, but becomes compelling. At the end of the first half of Season One I was really unsure of the show, but at the prodding of a few friends decided to give it another go and they were dead on-the second half of the first season they actually explained who people were, what was going on, and managed to make the characters more endearing and interesting-in other words, the series finally had life.

At this point in time, I feel fairly confident saying that Fringe and Sons of Anarchy were the best new television shows 2008 gave us, even if Fringe spilled over into 2009-and if you're something to replace a show you've lost, I can't suggest enough giving them a try.

Monday, May 11, 2009

To Be An Eight Year Old. An Eight Year Old With A Beer.


Back in March I wrote a little bit about my love/hate relationship with the Texas Rangers. How they're so ingrained in me that I just can't stay away, no matter how maddening they are and how much I dislike their owner. Likewise in that piece, I wrote a little bit about a day when I was a kid....couldn't have been more than seven or eight years old....when my mother took me to a local Dallas rec center to meet a few of my heroes, the then Texas Rangers. I got to meet Chad Kreuter, Scott Fletcher, and Jeff Kunkel (whom all probably work at a Home Depot now...), got them to sign a baseball....seriously-at that point in my life, it was probably the coolest thing....ever. Now fast forward to today....


A few months back when Bob Sturm moved his blog to D Magazine's Inside Corner I became a bit of an avid reader. It's got great content, good writers, and a decent reader base that gives me an oppurtunity to interact with other Rangers fans (all 6 of us.....) during the games. Even better, about a month ago they announced that they'd do a "Home Run Happy Hour." The idea was that a few players would come out, mingle with interested fans, do some Q&A, have drinks....it would be a low key affair at the Pappadeux on Oak Lawn. An awesome idea that got even awesomer when it was announced Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Marlon Byrdand Chris Davis would be there.....and even more awesomer than that when Derek Holland, Scott Feldman, and Taylor Teagarden agreed to show up (so too did Darren O'Day, but he did not...). The event was scheduled for today at 5:30 at the aforementioned Pappadeux location, and I was stoked-while it made it's rounds on the blogosphere I knew that wouldn't have the mass appeal to make it a circus. Then Evan went on The Ticket talking about it this afternoon, and I thought it was going to be a madhouse....after all, The Ticket is the no. 1 station in D/FW for men 25-54 aka the demographic that would show up at this sort of thing. That said, figured I'd roll the dice and drive by there (its just a few blocks from a couple of my accounts....) at 4:45 and see how crowded it was.


It wasn't. At all. I walk in, grab a beer ($4 24oz beers for Happy Hour....for Dallas, that's a bargain), and walk up to about a dozen people in Rangers garb asking where the line was.....and I was in it. About ten people back. Over the next 45m maybe another 30 people show up, and by the time it was all over there couldn't have been more than 150 people. I was given a free baseball to get signed (I hadn't planned to get autographs, just wanted to shoot the shit, but hey, why not?), a coupon for a free beer (so wait, I get to meet the Rangers and get a free beer?), and stood there talking with other fans. The players finally show up, and they were awesome....each one shakes my hand, signs the ball, and we shoot the shit for a bit. After about an hour of signing at a table that ends and they get up, and start mingling with the crowd which was followed by a Q&A session with about 30 of us looking on. As you can see here, I'm about a foot from Mike Young, as well as Marlon Byrd. In case you were curious, Young says he got that hat in Baltimore but couldn't remember the name of the store. I even had a funny conversation with Derek Holland while he was at the urinal next to me (it may be a breach of male etiquette, but im ok with that), as he told me things he would like to do to a couple Hooter's girls.


They were all just really cool dudes. Michael Young was having a Shiner Bock, Marlon Byrd a Crown Royal & soda...and all of them willing to fight through autograph requests and conversation. I even talked to Eric Nadel for a while (his son apparently also went to Jesuit)-a man legendary in my mind and linked forever to Rangers baseball as their radio voice. I always wonder if players are as cool in interviews/on the field as they are in person, and in this case I'm happy to say that they are...these were good dudes. Kinsler even managed his anger quite nicely when some jackass spilled a glass of water in his lap. The entire time I was there I just had this shit-eating grin on my face....and while I know they're just dudes, most of them younger than me....they're still the Rangers. And for a couple hours I was 8 years old again, like I was meeting Jeff Kunkel.....except with a beer.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Live To The Beat Of The City


A block over from my house, theres a big sign for these townhomes they're building where there once stood beautiful homes, and on the sign it says "Live To The Beat Of The City" as a selling point for said townhomes. And while I always lament the destruction of cool old houses, I must admit that all things considered, they're pretty cool townhomes. Three stories, roof decks, visually appealing....they're really not bad. What always stood out to me about them though, was the price.....each one is in the range of $300,000 which to you non-Texans doesnt seem that high, but bare with me. You see, these townhomes are literally a block away from a stretch of loud bars-which is a big part of why I live where I do, but I also rent-I can't fathom investing that much cash to buy a bad-ass townhome thats a block away from bars for 20-somethings, to say nothing of being two blocks from Ross Avenue. I write all that to say this, last night I had a bit of an encounter that made me chuckle at the idea of "living to the beat of the city."

It had been a long week, so I did a bit of a bar crawl (Barcadia, then Libertine, and then Capitol Pub) which resulted in not getting home 'til about 2:30am (thank you again Selene for the ride home!). So I get dropped off, light a cigarette and decide to sit on the stoop in front of my house for a bit before going inside. Sit there for a couple minutes enjoying the breeze, watching the drunks stumble back to their cars, listening to the police sirens....you know, 2:30am on a friday night on Lower Greenville, when a short Asian guy (really looked like a boy, couldn't have been over 22) dressed almost like a Mormon (black pants, white shirt, black tie) walks up to me and asks if he can bum a cigarette. I say sure, hand him one, he lights it and stands there for a second before motioning for me to scoot over and asking if he can sit next to me.

Ok, so guy asking to bum a cigarette off a random stranger at 2:30am? Not that weird. Guy asking to sit next to you on a dark stoop? Now that, that is kind of weird.

So I tell him that I'd prefer to sit alone and just enjoy the evening, and wish him a good evening. He just stands there for a bit looking at me in an odd way (my guess is he was on X, he didnt smell or look drunk, but he didnt look sober), and then he reaches his hand out and tries to grab my crotch. I deftly manage to parry his advance with my arm (I had no idea drunk parrying was a skill I possessed), and then he just stands there for about ten seconds staring at me sitting there looking at him with some mix of surprise and disgust on my face. He then shouts, "I just wanted to feel it!" and quickly walks away down the street.

I walk inside unable to do anything but giggle at the situation, and then ponder to myself, is that what they mean by living "to the beat of the city?"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Not To End A Relationship.


As y'all well know, it is my preference to avoid blogging about "personal things" on here, not just because I don't expect you to actually care, but also because well-they're personal for a reason. I love the internet, but I also appreciate not spreading my life to (potentially) the world at large. That said, after speaking with a good friend earlier on the golf course after work and telling him the story, he suggested to me that it was just fucked up enough to be worth telling-and so, here I am to tell it. Know that it is 100% accurate and true, becuase that's how I roll-those who know me know that truth is something important to me, and how hypocritical of me would it be to clammor for it only to spread untruths? That said, enjoy, let's begin with a little backstory.

Amanda (you'll also see her referred to Panda once, her name of choice not a pet name of mine) and I have known each other for some 10 years. In my mis-spent youth working with bands and going to clubs, we made each others acquaintance on account of liking many similar bands and developed a friendship. Later, when I created Buzz-Oven with Aden Holt and Tony Edwards she was among the first people I contacted to get on-board. We both liked a lot of bands, both had a passion for music, and knew each other. Over the years we'd see each other at shows, maybe exchange a few messages over myspace/facebook about local music-it was never a terribly strong friendship, but we were frieds. She lived in Ft. Worth, I lived in Denton and then Dallas...the logistics were just never quite there.

Then this past February, we made plans to go see Trail Of The Dead at the Granada, which she'd end up backing out of but next time she was in town I met her up at Vickery Bar for drinks and we hit it off as though I was still 19 and her 21-like we did in our youth. One night of good conversation made it clear there was something there, and so over the next couple weeks we started texting each other and making plans with each other and before you know it, we're dating. We'd both had crushes on each other in our youth, but circumstances made that impossible then-but now, hey, everything was lined up. And things were good.

We started to meet each others friends, she asks me to meet her family, we make plans for some small summer trips, we see each other 2-3 times a week (we lived 50mi apart and had jobs, so any more was tough)....you know, the things a couple does. As Sunny Day Real Estate would put it, the days were golden [as an aside, i've got stop associating exes with SDRE songs, its really ruining the band for me]. I don't feel that I'm at all exaggerating when I say that it was a very fine foundation for a fledgeling relationship, and that as we're both making plans for the future that we both also thought it had a future. We get about 6-7 weeks in, and then it all changes.

On a tuesday she starts to get a little distant, on wednesday she grows extremely so (normally we went out on wednesdays, but this particular week I had some pressing stuff for work and couldn't make it) and starts talking to me about this "great conversation" she had that night with her friends. Next day comes the call, which isn't to say I wasn't expecting it, but it came;
Matt, I just don't see a future here, and I don't see a reason to keep this
going on if that's the case.
A little unexpected, but fine. I ask her why, she says that's just how she feels. It's a fairly young relationship and while I lamented it's loss (and to be fair, sent two fairly drunken text messages about it the next night-though nothing shocking), it was what it was. Next day called to inquire further, she was vague and just said she didnt see a future again-and again, while I think that's slightly shitty, it is what it is and she wouldn't be the first girl to end a relationship with a vague excuse. We're both adults here, it happens. A week later I drop her a text asking if she still felt that way, phrased just like that, and get no response. A few nights later we're both at the Slow Roosevelt reunion show (she worked merch for them, I was just a fan). I wave and smile, she does the same-wham, bam, done...that's that. It's over [and I'm ok with that].

Or so I thought.....

Cue last night. I'd just finished watching RocknRolla with the room-mate [pretty damn good by the way], setting up a post-work tee-time with The Doss for today [I of course played like hell], and was dicking around on teh intertubed with the Rangers game in the background when I get this from Amanda. Know that we hadn't actually spoken/texted in two weeks, and that we'd been done for three.

10:09 So here's the reason
[picture from above is attached]

It's her mugging down with a dude. Ok, well that's out of nowhere and kind of shitty, but again-c'est la vie-it is what it is. And the following is the transcript of the night.

(Amanda) 10:09 So here's the reason

(me)10:13 Wow Amanda, that's a really shitty way to tell me. And I really thought we were better friends than that. Why couldn't you just tell me?

(me) 10:14 I am totally cool with it not working out, and still really want to be friends with you, really I do...but that's a pretty shitty thing to do and you know it.

(Amanda) 10:15 thats whar you get for thinking frenchy [spelling errors are as they were]

(me) 10:15 and does that mean I need to get an STD test? Or did you atleast not overlap us, plz be honest

(me) 10:16 fucking Keith [the husband of a friend] that's not cool man, that's really a dick thing to do to a man.

(Amanda) 10:18 No need for an STD test she's classier than that [oh the irony...]

(me) 10:19 that's really fucked up man, what did I ever do to you or her?

[at this point, I think it's Keith sending me the messages, the syntax matched conversations. As far as I know it, in fact, was not Keith]

(Amanda) 10:26 Uh so not Panda [Amanda] here but why single Keith out...fucking girl!

(me) 10:27 because Carina [Keith's wife] Keith called me frenchy and this is a really fucked up thing y'all are doing.

(Amanda) Dude this is make out cheat on you guy....why are you such a pussy ass fagget ass bitch. Get over it frenchey. i'm better than you get over it. man up dude.

[At this point I call her phone, and this guy answers. He feels the need to tell me that I need a haircut [quite true] and is otherwise just an insulting asshole-not terribly shocking. Oh, and that he started sleeping with her two weeks into our relationship.

(me) 10:34 Ya man....bet you are. Good luck with everything man.

(Amanda) 10:36 I'm john mother fucking abbs bitch

(me) 10:37 Well congratu-fucking-lations douchewad. [I wish i'd typed asshat.....]

[At this point Keith calls me from her phone, claiming that she's wasted [oh ok, then it's all good...] and that he's had to chase her outside to get her phone. I asked him why I deserved this bullshit he said I didn't.]

(Amanda) dude, his "toungue" his longer than yours. get over it already.

(me) 10:53 Again, good luck with it all man.

(Amanda) 10:56 So far, from what i'm told im having way better luck than you frenchy. [really, am i supposed to be insulted by being called French when I am?]

(me) 10:58 Well then congratulations man, keep it up and make her happy. She's a cool chick and deserves it.

(Amanda) 11:00 you have no idea how cool she is and what shes really capable of dude.

(me) 11:02 I think I do, but I hope you maximize that and make her super happy. Because while you're a cocksucking asshole, I do hope she finds what she wants.

(Amanda) 11:09 Dude after 5 times you couldnt make ger "happy". seriously you have no fucking idea how to make her happy or whay shes capable of. get over yourself you litgle dicked fagget ass sperm burping cum guzzlling ass fucking fagget.

(me) 11:11 I'm quite over myself, and again wish you good luck.

(Amanda) 11:13 Good for you. I don't need luck i've got skill.

(me) 11:14 Well then kudos to you for that. That should do the trick.

(Amanda) 11:24 Dude I heard about all the pussy ass text and the way you bitched out at the concert and the fact that you were too girly to make her happy. just fucking man up and get ovet it.

(me) 11:25 You already said that.

At which point I, you know, went to bed....having a job and all, especially one that makes tuesdays a bitch. It was better to let this die for the night and call her in the morning. Of course, this morning when I called her, she didn't pick up [any reasonable person would have far too much shame to do so....]. Text her saying that after that bullshit I atleast deserved an explanation and got nothing, then got de-friended on facebook [oh QQ (thats sarcastic crying for you non-gamers), I'm so sad! such pain!]. It's so passive-aggressive, and yet expected.

But before I close out this story-this lesson on how not to be the biggest cunt you can possibly be to a person you broke up with a few weeks after the fact, please let me point out a few things, most notably that;
1) This was done three weeks after the fact, and two weeks after last talking to her.
2) This was done via obviously drunken text message, by a douche, from her phone.
3) Keith and I never got along that well, and I feel slightly vindicated by even his admission that this was bullshit.
4) Everything written above is exactly as was, and is the truth.
5) Who the fuck breaks up with someone-in an amicable way-and then wants to rub it in three weeks later? And why?
6) Who the hell calls someone what he called me, and then refers to sex in euphemisms?

At this point all I can really do is laugh at the situation, but I wanted to share. Hopefully someone, somewhere, takes something from this. Cheers and Go Mavs!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Soooo....its been almost a month.

I know, I know, this isn't the first time I've taken a bit of an extended absence, and while the number of readers seems to have trickled down to a few dozen over the past month, I want to re-assure you, dear reader, that I am in fact back. Sometimes real life gets in the way, and you end up with this backlog of things you want to write about in the back of your head and just never quite get to them. I know it's a lame excuse, so please allow to give some idea as to what the details are of my most recent absence;

First off, I wrote a guest entry over at The Blend and have been slowly piecing together some research for a second one that turned out to be far more time intensive (and fact based) than the previous entry. Then there's work, which has been particularly brutal as a recession/depression economy doesn't mean numbers no longer have to be hit (and let me be honest, people are most certainly trading down in their wine purchases), a short lived relationship (there are no hard feelings, its over and I still consider her a friend-it just didn't work out, which is a shame), a clearing of the Tivo (there's absolutely nothing left on it, huzzah!), a couple books read (reviews will come...), a couple good shows, and of course-the old standby, a fair amount of Team Fortress 2 when I can shoehorn an hour in. Are these excuses lame? You betcha, but they are what they are.

So here is my promise to you. You will get atleast one post a week for the foreseeable future, with plans for 3 a week. I don't think thats too much to ask, and I think it's something I can do. I've got a lot to write about, and I intend to do just that. So know simply that more is coming, and that I value your reading of this blog and the emails/comments I recieve. Y'all rock, cheers!